We all make mistakes, but lately I’ve been feeling like I’m making too many.
I’m saying the wrong thing, I’m hurting people, I’m doing something wrong… Even sleeping past my alarm has made me feel pretty terrible lately.
I’ve never considered myself a perfectionist, but maybe I am.
I hate messing up. Now, I can handle a mistake here and there with grace, but several in a span of two weeks is too much for me.
As I touched on in this post, I really start to beat myself up.
”I should have known better.”
”I should have held my tongue.”
”I can’t do anything right.”
”Why do I even try?”
”I’m a terrible person.”
“I failed today.”
Thank goodness God doesn’t treat us like this or we’d all be doomed.
I keep asking myself why I’m like this. Why do I feel the need to get everything right? Does this tie into my insecurity? Are my high expectations for myself a result of comparison? Jealousy? Was I lacking something in my childhood that created this desire in me to get everything right? To be the best at everything?
Now that I think about it, maybe it’s all three. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always looked up to my siblings. I wanted to be like them – and to be liked the way they were. I’ve always thought they were some of the best people out there.
As a result, I’ve always compared myself to them and seen myself as beneath them, so to speak. I guess my insecurity and self deprecation has been around longer than I realized.
My sister is the one I’ve compared myself to the most. I compare my looks, my personality, my clothes, my everything to her. Right down to noting how other people are around her. “She’s prettier than me. She’s so likeable. She’s so perfect.”
Then there’s just the general comparison with all of them that I think all siblings do… comparing how parents talk to them and praise them – and how often.
Not too long ago I felt like all my siblings were doing great things that my parents were so proud of – while I sat and watched, feeling like a disappointment or a failure. This wasn’t their fault and it was wrong of me to compare this way, but I really yearn for that approval. To know I’m doing well – to know I’m doing things right.
“For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:43
Over the past month I’ve felt like my soul was being weighed down by a heavy disappointment in myself. I’ve said things I shouldn’t have. I’ve unintentionally hurt people. I’ve let myself down in my day to day goals. The other day the littlest thing happened and I started crying because I was so tired of messing up.
I’ve put an expectation of perfection on myself. If I don’t get everything done on my to-do list, it’s easy for me to feel down and fall into a slump of depression.
No one in my life has put these expectations on me but myself. Not my family, not my boyfriend, not my friends, and most definitely not God. Yet when I read what God asks of me in the Bible and I fail Him, I beat myself up – even though He doesn’t.
It’s. All. Me.
I don’t think I can really explain why I do this to myself, because I barely know. All I know is that it needs to stop. I need to stop expecting myself to be perfect for two reasons.
1. Because I never will be. God alone is perfect and as much as I may strive for perfection, I will always fail. Perfection will never be something I can attain. Perfection belongs to God.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23
2. Because no one – and I mean NO ONE – expects me to be perfect. They expect a flawed human trying her best to be a good and godly person – and with that comes failure and imperfection.
My personal expectations mean nothing if they do not line up with what God expects of me. That goes for anyone else’s expectations of me, too.
God asks that we strive for perfection, yes, but He knows we will not reach it. In the same way parents expect their kids to be obedient and respectful, they know they won’t be all the time. Still the standard has to be there or else everything is chaos. So spiritually, yes, I should be striving for perfection, but if I mess up (and I will), I shouldn’t be so hard on myself because God offers me the grace to keep going.
I’m not alive today to meet my expectations – I’m alive to meet God’s. My expectation of perfection is based on worldly perfection. If I gain the world, but don’t have Jesus, I have nothing.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Mark 8:36
He knows I’m going to mess up, He knows I’m going to stumble, but He expects me to turn to Him when I do so He can pick me up and make my paths straight.
“Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip.” Psalm 17:5